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Boston's Colby Cohen, top, collides with Maine's Tanner House, bottom, during first period Hockey East quarterfinals in Boston, Mass., Friday. AP Photo/Lisa Poole

Bemidji State men's hockey: Who will BSU play? For now, it looks like Boston University

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Bemidji State men's hockey: Who will BSU play? For now, it looks like Boston University
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Beavers are dancing.

The only question left after Saturday night's victory is where they will end up playing.

The official field will be announced one week from today on ESPN 2 at 11:30 a.m. March 22. But until then, fans can debate who should be in or out.

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The automatic bid the Beavers earned Saturday was the first of the six automatic qualifiers given for the NCAA Men's hockey tournament.

There's still five left, which come from the other leagues in the country. Yet to be decided are the autobids for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Atlantic Hockey, Easter College Athletic Conference and Hockey East.

After the league champions earn their automatic bids, then 10 at-large teams are awarded bids by the NCAA selection committee.

The members of the committee are University of Minnesota athletic director, Joel Maturi, Holy Cross associate athletic director Bill Bellerose, Miami University associate athletic director Steve Cady, Providence College athletic director Bob Driscoll, Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder and Colgate head coach Don Vaughan.

The field is then ranked from No. 1 to No. 16.

The top four teams as ranked by the committee are the four No. 1 seeds. That way, if all No. 1 seeds advance to the Frozen Four, the No. 1 will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. All of the No. 1 seeds are placed as close to home as possible.

After the top four teams are selected as the No. 1 seed, the next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

Bemidji State is likely a No. 4 seed.

After the seeds are selected, the teams are off to play in the regionals March 27-29 at various sites.

The Northeast Regional will be played at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. The East Regional will be played at Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The West regional will be played at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and the Midwest Regional will be played at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Regional winners advance to the Frozen Four held April 9 and 11 in Washington D.C.

United States College Hockey Online and Inside College Hockey are widely considered as the top college hockey publications and each week the two outlets issue predictions for the 16-team field.

United States College Hockey Online has developed a PairWise ranking system, which attempts to mimic the method used by the selection committee. USCHO's PairWise is an accurate tool in gauging the field as it has exactly predicted the NCAA Tournament field the last eight seasons.

Boston University (28-5-4) is ranked as the No. 1 team in the last PairWise and will likely hold that spot unless it is upset in the Hockey East Tournament.

If the Terriers lose a game, look for Notre Dame to take the top spot and if that happens - BSU could be headed to Grand Rapids to face the Irish.

Bemidji State is not listed in the PairWise, which only ranks the top 25 teams.

But it doesn't matter if Bemidji State is not in the PairWise because the Beavers clinched the automatic bid.

This week, both USCHO and INCH have predicted that Bemidji State will be seeded as the No. 16 team and will face No. 1 seed Boston University in the East Regional in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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Pioneer staff reports
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